Our horses are not show horses. We enjoy riding them at home and taking them out on the trails at state parks. My youngest daughter, Julie, decided to take her horse in 4-H. We had not participated in 4-H for a number of years so although she was 13 this was her first chance to show at the county fair.
Since Julie had outgrown her pony, Ebony, she inherited my horse, Ginger, a Missouri Foxtrotter. We live right in the center of Quarter Horse and Paint Horse country. The 4-H world and our county fair are focused on those types of horses. They have one class for gaited horses and gaited horses are not permitted to show in any other pleasure or horsemanship classes. So the day of the junior fair horse show, Julie would be able to show in 3 classes, halter, showmanship, and the gaited class. She practiced a lot over the summer and became much better at handling her "new" horse.
Although she was only entered in 3 classes in a show that lasted an entire day, there was a lot of excitement in preparing for the event. Finally Julie's class entered the ring. We were all sure Ginger and Julie were performing much better than the other contestants, but would the judge think so? We held our breath as the winners were announced. Yes, Julie was the first place winner! Everyone was excited and congratulated her and Ginger.
Is it silly to get all wrapped up in something like a horse show? As long as it is all kept in perspective I think it can be great fun. The kids need to learn to win with humility and to lose with graciousness. Those can both be difficult lessons. We need to keep in mind though that in life we are working toward a prize that is far better than a horse show trophy and that we want to seek God's approval far more than the approval of a judge at a horse show.
Philippians 3:14 “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
2 Timothy 2:15 “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”